A Genealogy of Frankenstein's Creation: Appropriation, Hypermediacy, and Distributed Cognition in Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, Victor Erice's Spirit of the Beehive, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Virginia Tech

Studies of Frankenstein-related cultural, literary, and filmic productions tend to either focus atomistically on a particular cultural artifact or construct rather strict chains of filiation between multiple artifacts. Media scholars have developed rich conceptual resources for describing cross-media appropriations in the realm of fandom (including fan fiction and slash fiction); however, many scholars of digital literary culture tend to describe the relationships between new media artifacts and their print counterparts in terms that promote what is "new" about these media forms without attending to how older media forms anticipate and enter into conversation with electronic multimedia formats. This paper suggests an alternative to this model that emphasizes the extent to which media forms remix, appropriate, and speak through other media and cultural artifacts. Studying Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, James Whale's classic Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein films, Victor Erice's Spirit of the Beehive, Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters, Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, and some of the scholarly literature around the Frankenstein narrative, the construction of gender, and the discourse of post- humanity, this paper explores the mechanisms through which these artifacts draw attention to their participation in a greater "body" of Frankenstein culture. Additionally, this paper explores how these artifacts use what Bolter and Grusin have described as the logic of hypermediacy to emphasize the specificity of their deployment through a particular medium into a specific historical situation.

Posthuman, Prometheus, Cinema, New Media, Hypertext, Remediation, Suture